My legs still felt like jelly, wobbled like it to while trying to stand to my feet. I kept catching my balance on the arm of the couch. Steady, I wrapped the blanket around myself, clutching it tight as I took a successful first step. It was still dim inside but the light peeked around the frame of the living room windows. Taking careful steps toward the window, I pulled aside the curtain, wincing while I peeked out at the stark white scenery. Trees in the distance looked as if they were sending up praise as its branches twisted up to the sky. Funny how things look so different when you’ve been rescued from near death. Nature was silent this morning, there were no crows cawing or wind howling and my breath certainly wasn’t echoing in my ears in fear of life. But the crackling of embers tickled my ears. Resting my head against the window frame gave me a little relief that I was safe somewhere Jett couldn’t track me.
“Hello.” Jerking my head around, my eyes widened at the size of this man. He was taller than Jett and looked as if he could snap my neck without a sweat. His arms were thick twisted ropes, a chest one could bury her face in. He sported long legs in black sweat pants and his thighs were massive. It’s safe to assume if any man thought to run up on him would be taking his life in his own hands. His obsidian hair was cut low and flecks of white hair jutted through his well-trimmed beard. His sharp blue eyes held no ill intent.
“Hi, you’re huge.” I blubbered without thinking. A mother of pearl smile stretched across his face as he rubbed his beard.
“My mother’s sentiments exactly. I’m sure I was a pain to carry.”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. My brain hasn’t thawed out completely.”
“No offense taken.” We stood staring at one another in silence. I honestly didn’t know what else to say to him. He stepped into the kitchen, quietly setting the stove with a pot and a griddle pan. As he moved about, he kept a close eye on me, and me on him. “What’s your name?”
“Mika Isla-Thornton.” I hurried spilled out. I answered like I was an inmate in a local prison. How embarrassing.
“Names Thanatos Briggs.”
“Thanatos is your real name?” Idiot! Why wouldn’t it be? He’s not on the run, I am.
He looked up with a thoughtful grin, “I’ve gotten that a lot. But yes, Thanatos is my real name.”
“You’re the god of Death.”
“Know a spell about Greek mythology, do you?”
“I know enough. Greek mythology is fascinating. Are you?”
“Am I what?”
“I doubt it. In any case, I wouldn’t hurt anyone unless provoked, so you’re in good hands, especially if you’re running from someone. Is that how you ended up here?”
“Maybe. Are you going to throw me out?”
“I don’t throw ladies out on their hind parts.”
“Where are my clothes and bag if you don’t mind me asking?”
“In my room. Have a seat at the table. Breakfast will be served soon.” My Greek savior didn’t seem threatening at all, but that’s what I thought before I married Jett. I suppose I have a poor ability to read people. Reluctantly I inched toward the small round wooden table that could only seat two people, and parked my butt in the chair. I watched while he arranged food for the both of us. He walked over, placed the plate between my resting hands and walked back for two small glasses. Thanatos’s movements weren’t rushed, like he had all the time in the world, yet they were calculated, sharp and smooth. There was something about the way he owned his body that reminded him of her ex. There was something primal about him. Once he comfortably filled his chair, his knees bumped into mine causing me to shift to accommodate his size.
Sharing this space with him seemed to suck the air from my lungs. When Thanatos was within meters of someone, he ruled without effort, I surmised. Once I ripped my glued eyes from him, I picked up the knife and fork and began cutting into my flapjacks. My hands shook and the fork tapped against the porcelain plate. “Are you okay?”
“No. You’re making me nervous.”
“I’m just sitting here.”
“I know and you’re taking up the whole space.”
“I have no intention to make you feel uncomfortable.”
“If you don’t mind, I’ll eat my breakfast on the couch.” Before he could reply, I transferred my plate and glass over to the couch. Sitting Indian style, I hunched over my plate devouring my food.
I couldn’t believe this woman just up and moved without my permission. I stared across the table at her in astonishment. I suddenly remembered that it has been a long time since a woman innocently graced me with her presence. Mika Isa-Thornton didn’t carry herself like many other women did during the summer, spring and fall months. She actually ran from him! I’d be offended if I hadn’t found it refreshing, endearing even. And who addresses themselves by their full name?
Mika must have picked up on my thoughts because she looked up from her plate and lasered me straight in the eyes with her speculative glance. She was nervous? So was I. Special Forces was brutal but it was nothing compared to how this woman was looking at him. It was enough to make me squirm in my chair. Training my eyes down on my plate, I gobbled up breakfast and washed it down with apple juice. Pushing back, I walked my dishes to the sink, retreated to my bedroom to change for a few hours of chopping wood. Maybe this would give Mika time to familiarize herself with my cabin and for me to dig a little deeper into who she was running from.